Starting a bullet journal was one of the best things I did last year to optimize my morning routine. Since then I have done my daily writing pretty much every day and I am not planning to stop. You might have seen bullet journal ideas on Pinterest or Instagram. And you might have gotten the impression that this is only for artsy people. But let me tell you, the basic idea and the most important part of it has nothing to do with creating fancy weekly spreads. Nor do you need Washi tape or colorful stickers.
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What is a bullet journal
So let’s start at the beginning and summarize quickly what a bullet journal is. As the name implies, it is a form of journal. With this type of journaling, you don’t write out all your thoughts in a fluent text. Instead, you only write down short notes. And this is where the “bullets” come in. The “bullet” part of the name comes from the very clever system of keys that are used.
The bullet journal key logic
The bullets you will be writing down can be divided into three categories: tasks, events and notes. To make it easy to distinguish between those categories, the symbol or “key” in front of it will look differently. Let’s go through those quickly!
As we know all too well, tasks can be in various stages on our to-do list. Either we just write them down and they are waiting for us to take care of them. Or we postpone them. (Bullet journaling calls postponing “migrating”.) Sometimes we have already scheduled when to do them. And in the best case, the task is completed.
In bullet journal key tasks can look like this:
Events are things you have already planned in your calendar. You write events down like this:
Notes can be anything that you want to write down, that doesn’t fit in the other categories. Ideas, thoughts, learnings… The bullet journal key for them looks like this:
And this is pretty much the most important knowledge you need for starting a bullet journal. For more detailed information you can always check out bulletjournal.com.
Why you should be starting a bullet journal
Going through these instructions above, you might be wondering why this is such a big deal. After all, it looks like just a fancy way to take notes. Honestly, you are right about this. It is simply taking notes. But take a moment and think about the following: How often do you take notes usually? And where do they end up? How great would it be to have all of your notes, to-dos and planned events in one place? Pretty great, I can tell you!
Still, the organizing part is not the best part of a bullet journal. At least in my opinion. What makes this such an integral part of my day is something else. It is the fact, that writing down my goals for the day makes me so much more likely to actually DO the stuff! While you might not take my word for granted, this is a proven fact. Just googling “writing down your goals” will provide you with a plethora of credible sources. All stating how writing down your goals is THE thing to do. Unless you don’t really want to achieve them, that is. In my opinion, this is the biggest selling point for actually starting a bullet journal.
What to do for starting a bullet journal
In my opinion, you don’t need a huge amount of supplies for starting your very first bullet journal. You will need to pick a notebook that fits your needs. A pen. (And you really don’t need a full collection of bullet journal pens to start!) And then I would very much recommend to watch this video made by the Bullet journal creator.
The best bullet journal notebook
So, which notebook to pick for your bullet journal? Many people will say that the Leuchtturm 1917* is the best bullet journal notebook. I think, the most important reason for that is the fact that Leuchtturm offers dotted lines. That gives you a lot of freedom in designing your pages and using different layouts.
And since bullet journaling has been around for quite a while and has convinced millions of people of its effectiveness, by now there are also myriads of notebook variations available.
While I see the appeal in being able to draw your own layouts and boxes, it is not necessary to start your own bullet journal. In fact, I am still using a simple black moleskine notebook*. It’s ruled, so layouts tend to look a little less cool.
Integrating Bullet Journaling into your day
In the morning, you can just sit down for 5 minutes, journal your tasks, events and thoughts for the day. And in the evening, you can go through them again. Checking them off, migrating and scheduling. The more you do it, the more you will become aware of what you are really doing in one day. And after one or two weeks, you will be able to read through that and see, if it aligns with your goals.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on starting a bullet journal. If you’d like, let me know about your experiences: Have you tried bullet journaling yet? If no, why not? And if yes, which benefits did you see?